When purchasing products or services you may have justified paying a higher price, using the phrase ‘you get what you pay for’. Behind this, of course, is the idea that if the price is low then the quality or quantity will also be inadequate and poor standards will come as a given.
This attitude also extends to a way of thinking about putting in effort in work and life. You put in the energy and commitment and pay your dues, and then have every right to expect just rewards for your endeavours. In fact it would be considered ridiculous to expect such rewards to be delivered automatically without payment.
This same idea is built into pricing policy. “I charge high prices because I give good service” or “we cost more than others because of the quality of our raw materials and skills of our workforce”, and so it goes on. Christians too, have a sense that God’s favour is handled in a similar way. Citing David’s statement, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord that which costs me nothing”, there is an operating belief that one invests in the Kingdom and rewards follow.
While it is undoubtedly true that there are links between costs or charges and quality, it is a risky business to apply such rules to the Divine economy.
From the starting line, according to Paul, our standing before God as Christians is not related to our work, payment or effort. There is no room for boasting, confidence or demanding rewards. The dynamics in this process are to do with grace and faith.
Secondly, we are not self-made, pulled up by our own bootstraps, owe nobody anything people, rather we are made, equipped and gifted by God.
Thirdly, we are not on a self-determined, ambition-fuelled career path to fulfil our selfish agendas, we are called to a Divine agenda which is in fact both good and rewarding.
The problem we encounter in this Divine system is that we don’t have the currency in order to pay for what we want. We are called to trust and serve purposes which although related to who we are, are not ours to own.
The truth is, we don’t get what we pay for. We cannot pay for our salvation, but we get it anyway. We cannot pay for the kindness of God, but he still gives it. No matter how hard we work, we cannot earn God’s favour, but he gives it freely to us. The deeper truth is that we get far more than we pay for. We get what we don’t deserve and we enjoy benefits way beyond our costs. For Christians, I would suggest these benefits show themselves not just in the long-term future, but in our day to day working. God gives us the grace to live and work in the realities of our lives. Thankfully, someone has covered the cost of this generosity.
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